Adoptive Parent Evaluations

Does anybody know exactly the specifics of an adoptive parent evaluation are?

I think I read somewhere else (in one particular state) that it consists of 100 questions and a psychological examination.
I'd like to see those questions - they obviously aren't adequate!

I would love to see these get tightened up.

0

mandatory monitoring

Though I don't have a list of 100 questions, I did write a piece called Mandatory monitoring, which at the time I wrote as a piece to discuss a proposal to change the screening, but most of all post placement requirements.

From a psychologist perspective...

Hi All,

From my perspective as a psychologist, what I am looking for in performing an adoptive parent evaluation is that the parent is psychologically "healthy," NOT perfect. This is to protect the best interest of the child as well as the parent. To do this, I use an interview and a more objective measure (a true/false questionnaire). You may ask, why bother with the testing? The reason is that first impressions are often wrong and research has shown that a psychologist's "clinical judgment" is often mistaken. Yeah, we're people too. The psychological test helps by providing a more objective measure of the adoptive parents mental status. Neither is a "trick" and both are used to help make the best decision at the time of the evaluation.

So, if someone has been depressed, etc., earlier in their life does this mean they cannot be a good parent? Of course not. What I look for is how a person is functioning now. I also may make recommendations, if appropriate, such as counseling or parent training prior to adoption. Again, this is to protect the child AND the parent.

If you are going in for an adoptive parent evaluation, don't try to "beat the test." Instead, be yourself! My guess is that most of you will do just fine.

Best wishes,

Eric Neblung, Ph.D.
www.eric-neblung-phd.com

a couple of questions

This raises a couple of questions for me that I hope you will answer for us:

  1. Do you ever disqualify people for adoption and if so can you give an estimate?
  2. What is the correlation between psychological "health" as defined by the test and the safety of children in adoptive families? Has such correlation ever been established?
  3. The means through which you evaluate fitness of adoptive parents, is that shared by many in the field, or does everyone making such an assessment use his own methods?

I am an adoptee not having the wish to adopt, but  my guess is I would not do fine on such a test. What worries me though is the mentality demonstrated by the "I guess you'll do fine" statement. It reads to me as if acceptance requirements for adoptive parents are low. Don't worry, you'll do fine, is certainly something prospective adoptive parents would like to hear. As an advocate for safety in child placement this actually worries me.

Code Words For "You're In Like Flint"

Neils wrote:
I am an adoptee not having the wish to adopt, but  my guess is I would not do fine on such a test.

Why do you think so?

What worries me though is the mentality demonstrated by the "I guess you'll do fine" statement. It reads to me as if acceptance requirements for adoptive parents are low.

It reads to me as if he's attempting to put the subjects of his evaluations at ease.  I told my daughter the same thing before she took her driver's test.  She passed. 

Don't worry, you'll do fine, is certainly something prospective adoptive parents would like to hear.

Whether they are qualified candidates or not, of course prospective adoptive parents would like to hear words of comfort and encouragement before such an evaluation, just like all the other pedophiles, pornographers, and child abusers we're constantly being compared to on this forum.

Dad

Insult to injury

Whether they are qualified candidates or not, of course prospective adoptive parents would like to hear words of comfort and encouragement before such an evaluation, just like all the other pedophiles, pornographers, and child abusers we're constantly being compared to on this forum.

I can very much respect, admire, and appreciate those AP's who try their damnedest to make the life of an abandoned/abused child much much better than what it used to be.  However, for the life of me, I cannot understand the level of denial and amount of hostility expressed by an AP towards abused adoptees.  While you may not like to be associated with pedophiles or psycho maniacs who have indeed passed home-studies and the pre-screening adoption process, there are many adoptees who have lived with such people.  At this point, I'd like to confess, many adoptees don't post or respond publicly because of the hostile angry responses made by many AP's.  [As if WE created monster AP'S!!!!]  For the adoptee, it's simply not safe to share a painful adoption experience, especially if he/she knows an AP is ready to attack with an aggressive offense or defense.  [This is the very reason why I left Adoption.con many years ago....]

"Dad"... it seems to me you keep missing the point we, the abused/neglected-after-final-placement, would like to make -- in spite of a few good adoption agencies, and in spite of a bunch of many good, loving, attentive AP's, there are indeed child abusers and sexual predators passing the pre-screening/home-study portion of the adoption process.  Surely you must agree such people should NOT become an AP!?!?!

Last but not least, I try not to let certain posts/responses get to me, however, "Dad", your hard-ass attitude towards those who lived through the nightmare of a really bad adoptee experience disappoints, insults and hurts me... deeply and personally.  With that, may your adopted children count their blessings, as I continue to count the nights I don't sleep, thanks to a not-so-good -yet-private-agency-approved Afamily.

Wondering aloud

Kerry wrote:
Last but not least, I try not to let certain posts/responses get to me, however, "Dad", your hard-ass attitude towards those who lived through the nightmare of a really bad adoptee experience disappoints, insults and hurts me... deeply and personally.

I do not happen to share your hostile view of adoption, families formed through adoption, or adoptive parents in general.   If I happen to express as much, it doesn't make me unsympathetic to child abuse.  They are not one and the same, no matter how many times you wonder aloud at the open and close of your comments.

At no time did I speak to nor invalidate your personal experience with adoption.  I have been told not to personalize comments made about adoptive parents in general, I would kindly suggest you do the same.

Adoption as an institution is no more responsible for child abuse than the institution of marriage is responsible for domestic violence.

Dad

 

Choices, Decisions, Responsibility

I do not happen to share your hostile view of adoption, families formed through adoption, or adoptive parents in general. 

I'm secure enough to know there are many AP's who would disagree with the very wrong assumption that my hostility towards abusive AP's is directed towards ALL AP's.   Such black-and-white reasoning and association would be the equivalent to me hating all husbands because I married a man who doesn't love me.  I'm an adult, not a child.  I can separate the bad from the good and render an opinion on both.  

Adoption as an institution is no more responsible for child abuse than the institution of marriage is responsible for domestic violence

WOW, wow, and another wow... I need to think about this a bit.  Is adoption and marriage  (two individual institutions) responsible for the treatment and well-being of children and women... and men  (can't forget the men!)  And, at any point, (should/could) is either institution responsible for future child abuse and/or domestic violence?

Let me put my thinking cap on... I was put in an institution immediately after birth, therefore I was a newborn when I entered the institution of adoption.  [That's when the neglect (and later) the abuse began... at least that's what the formal written documents written by doctors and social workers (and nuns.. can't forget the nuns!), seem to indicate.]  I was a consenting 23 year old adult when I entered the institution of marriage.  Granted, in both situations I knew next to nothing about good healthy family relationships, but the wondering Wanda in me (Wanda was my birthname) is asking if, when and where does a child became responsible for the decisions made at the signing of an adoption/marriage contract?  I'm a bit foggy on that one.  Lucky for me the man I married never threw me against a wall or lift me by my hair, or hit me with "things"; lucky for me no one within his family-clan did unspeakable things to me.  True, the mind-games tend to take a toll, but then, I walked into that sort of controlling relationship the minute I said "I do" and signed those pesky annoying papers.  I take full responsibility for the choice I made when I got married.  Am I supposed to take full responsibility for the choices made through the institution of adoption, too?

family preservation over adoption

Granted, in both situations I knew next to nothing about good healthy family relationships, but the wondering Wanda in me (Wanda was my birthname) is asking if, when and where does a child became responsible for the decisions made at the signing of an adoption/marriage contract?  I'm a bit foggy on that one.

With the possible exception of an older child adopted from state care, no child is responsible for the decisions made on their behalf regarding placement for adoption.  In my state, children over the age of 12 have to consent to their adoption.

But as an argument for family preservation over adoption, the argument fails because no children (adopted or otherwise) have any say in who becomes their caregiver.  I'm sure those children who were abused or neglected by their biological parent(s) had no say, either.

Oops, but here we dare not discuss the issue of biological family abuse or neglect even though it must be considered to support arguments of family preservation over adoption.

Dad

 

 

Why am I here?

Years ago I found myself defending my actions and reactions to my AP's  They  My Adad wanted to know why I always seemed so distant and defensive around them and why, when I was in-town, I would not visit the house in which I was raised.  I literally made an appointment to sit down at the kitchen table with them and explain what made me "change".  [Hub-man was there to witness this very difficult conversation because he believed my parents really needed to know the truth and he believed with all of his heart and soul they would do any/everything to make things better for me.  I was foolish enough to believe him.]  He sat in awe as they told me none of what I said was true.  Years later, I tried to reach-out and explain what it was I needed from them.  Acknowledgement, recognition, an apology, even if they didn't mean it.  I told Hub-man, "I need their interest... I need proof I do in-fact matter to them".  Hub-man was in awe when they refused contact again.  Years after that, I tried one last time to appeal to my Amom and ask her to please meet me half way so we could TRY to repair a very messed-up relationship.  Hubman saw my face when I stood with a phone and a dial-tone.  [That was the last time she spoke to me.]

Those events hurt.  Those events made me angry.  Those events made me question my value and worth in this world.  If I had to choose the one event/loss that hurt me the most, and still hurts me to this day, you know what it would be?  The loss of my Adad.  [Not my mothers or the man who had sex and left his sperm... not the other stuff that happened along the way... ]  The loss of one parent's love still kills me.  My Adad was my inspiration.  He was my comic relief.  He was off his rocker at times, but he was my daddy and there was nothing I wouldn't do to gain his smirky nod of approval.  I'll never forget his formal final-good-bye to me.  Before he literally turned his back and walked away, he said "I can't get her mad.  I hope you understand that."  I was in my late 30's and I stood like an idiot in the middle of the street watching my daddy... my one and only hero in this world.... leave me, for good.  That was the day I became a true-blue orphan.

I spent far too many years crying and reaching-out to people who simply did not/do not care about the things that upset and hurt me.  Maybe because I was adopted in the late 1960's, people don't take my stories or complaints all that seriously.  Maybe if I bad-mouthed my bio-family more I'd have more public sympathy.  Forgive me for not having a bio horror story of my own.  Forgive me for not doing more in terms of positive networking... I am still quite new to this new-and-different website business and I am still very busy with four little-ones of my own, here in my single-income home.

Truth is, I don't know what abuse within a bio-family is like.  I know both my AP's were abused within their bio-families.  I know this because both used to tell me stories about their own childhoods, and those stories were confirmed by other family members.  I know when my Amother was sent away from her home (because her alcoholic father was too violent and dangerous), she was sent to live with her maternal grandmother and aunt.  Both loved her dearly and she always said to me, "As far as I'm concerned, my grandmother was my real mother".  I know when my Adad was a young teen and got tired of being beat by his own father, he ran away to live with his uncle for a few years.  That caused all sorts of family tension, but I've learned some families seem to really thrive on such drama.

I only know what it's like to be adopted, abused and then abandoned by a so-called "forever family".  Does it hurt the same as what my Aparents went through?  I don't know.  I do know God chose my biology and an agency chose my family.

I am here (PPL) because for well over a decade I noticed something very disturbing about pro-adoption forums.  I noticed very little attention is given to the issue of child abuse and neglect within foster/Children's Homes and within the adoptive family.  I noticed people seem to be afraid to be too critical about adoption agencies and home studies. I am here because a voice needs to advocate those just like me.  I'm here to give voice to those fostered/adopted children who had it much much worse.  I am here because there are stories that need to be told and situations that need to be recognized so follow-up study and investigations can be done, so better care can be provided, so more and more children DO NOT get placed in very dangerous, life-threatening situations.  I am here so people can be aware of the problems taking place in the homes that were supposed to be safe havens for those who have been abandoned and abused by the bio-family.  Does that negate bio-abuse?  No... I can only hope my awareness, my personal experience, my findings can make others aware of the many dangers children still face post-foster/adoption placement.  I can only hope my pleas and complaints, my rants and my raves encourage others to ask questions.... questions about specific adoption agencies and their practices, and the people fostering and adopting children.

The way I see it... just as some little girl or boy is being raped, abused, neglected and/or rejected by one or both bio parents, there is a child in a foster/adoptive family enduring a very similar experience.  Unfortunately, I don't have exact stats or studies with numerical findings to support that belief, but there's a reason for that --  no one seems to collect that sort of very specific post-placement information.  Sad, isn't it?

You Go Kiddo!

You and I share more than you know Kerry/
As for Dad, it seems he needs to go to Adoption.com if all he wants to read the "positive AP and adoption language".  it appears he is having difficulty understanding the mission of this site and that is to educate the masses on the reality of adoption from an adoptee's point of view. He will never allow himself to believe that adoption is not always the "wonderful answer" for society's problems.  
From his constant argumentative responses it it clear that he is incapable of wrapping his brain around the fact that he may have preconceived notions concerning this subject matter. IE: asking for citations then disbuting them. when they are presented to him as asked..
& His position in the triad may explain why. he can;t seem to understand that as an AP and not an Adoptee he can't be expected to know what it feels like to be adopted by people who shouldn't have been allowed to adopt a puppy much less a child, Or that adoption agencies and case workers may not all be in the business for "the child's best interest.
. Just as I, not an AP, can know what it feels like to be an AP. And since I was not a product of a good placement, it may be hard for me to even envision what a good placement is., 
 To be an AP and to hear how our AP's parented us must be somewhat scary to him and just may hit a nerve in him. Could it be some denied insecurity hidden deep down? If so, maybe he would be happier on some other forum instead of PPL. Because unless he can accept our reality, he is just wasting his time.
Just a thought...and my 2 cents, not that it matters Dad, coming from an adoptee who knows nothing but the bad side of adoption.
Baby Girl Mona - Adoptee placed during the Baby-scoop era.
"Touched By Adoption, With a Blowtorch "

Your sig

"Touched By Adoption, With a Blowtorch "

That is totally brilliant.

Great minds

I too giggled when I read that signature.... it reminded me of a post/cartoon added by a member when PPL first got started.

See:  A new word.

Don't blame the messenger

I am not making the comparison between adoptive parents (in general) and pedophiles, pornographers and child abuseres. The facts show that some adopters are. That's not my fault but theirs, so don't blame the messenger. The only one on this website making such generalization is you. I don't know what pointing out those adoptive parents that do abuse and trying to figure out why they passed screening has to do with you. I have no reason to assume you do bad things to your children, so what in the world is so bad about pointing out those that do? Why this endless defensiveness, when it doens't apply to you. Is adoption so sacred and so fragile a construct that any bad news about it defiles or tarnishes its blazon? Are we better off when we brush all this under the carpet and believe everything will always be forever, always good, always pure.

Reality is that at least 20% of adoptions end in disruption, another unknown percentage ends in death or removal by CPS. On top of that there are probably many cases where adoption doesn't work out but where it doesn't end so drastically. Even when we don't know the exact figures we can still see that all those combined are a sizeble portion of all adoptions. So maybe it is not far off when I estimate that one in three adoptions isn't all that successful. Does that tarnish the remaining two out of the three that go reasonably well? No it means we can expand those two out of three. Wouldn't it be a lot better if it was five out of six or eight out of nine?

One way to expand the success rate of child placement is to reduce the failure rate. Attempts to show how screening may not be effective may lead to reduction of that failure rate. Collecting information about abusive adopters may help learn who erroneously passed the screening. Showing how child placement organizations benefit from having as many children in care, may raise awareness to the fact that some of these children don't belong in the system in the first place. That reduces the need for placement and makes the system less dependent on less qualified care takers.

There is much that can be improved, but to do so, we need to look critically at the workings of the system. If that critique doesn't apply to you, then why make such a fuss over it? Why the assumption I would generalize the bad things that do happen as being the responsibility of all adopive parents? I don't think that way. Some adopters do horrible, others do excellent and the vast majority does somewhere in between. If we can reduce the group of horrible adopters and reduce the number of children that don't belong in the system in the first place, much can be gained. That's what I believe in, that's what I stand for. If that touches a nerve in you. So be it.

20% of adoptions disrupt?

Neils wrote:
Reality is that at least 20% of adoptions end in disruption, another unknown percentage ends in death or removal by CPS.

Reality is that at least 20% of adoptions end in disruption?  Citations please.

The studies I've read put the domestic (US) infant adoption disruption rate around 1%.  The adoption disruption rates for children adopted from US foster care increase with the age of the child upon placement.  The older the age group, the longer the child has been in state care, the higher the disruption rate.  But the numbers of children adopted from foster care after age 14 are so small in comparison to infant and younger child adoption, their effect on the overall adoption disruption rate would be minimal at best.

If you've got citations to support your claim that at least 20% of adoptions end in disruption, I'd like to see them before I accept them as "reality".

Dad

citations

Small subsets

Thanks for the citations - I'm familiar with most of them.  Where in these studies does it support your claim that at least 20% of adoptions end in disruption?

There are small subsets that approach the 20% disruption rate.  Older (teenage) children who have been in state care for an extended period make up such a small percentage of adoptions overall, their impact on the overall adoption disruption rate would be minimal at best.

My daughter had a disrupted placement when she was 5 years old.

Dad

the bigger picture

If you add the figures of disruptions and dissolutions together, you come close to those 20%.

What is more important though than an actual number, especially since statistics about this are not accurately maintained, is the question "could we have prevented this?".

In the case of your daughter, would it not have been better if she had found a good adoptive home with the first placement? Could better preparation, better screening have resulted in a better match first time around? Those are interesting questions, I believe.

We may never know the exact number of disruptions, nor the abuse rate in adoptive families, but since we have an instrument to help prevent it, it's worth using that instrument.

I won't deny the existance of abuse in biological families, nor will I downplay that existance, but as a society we have not instituted sceening of biological parents. We have done so for foster families and adoptive families. All I plea for is to use those instruments to the best of our ability, something I don't believe is being done. Another thing I plea for is to use child placement only when really needed. That can easily drop the absolute numbers of disruptions and of abuse, simply because less children are involved, but it can also reduce the relative numbers, because less children in the system means we can better select suitable adoptive/foster parents for children.

True/False

Personally, I wonder just how many AP's are truthful when going through the Q&A process.

Pedophiles pass with flying colors... so how much truth is being spoken when discussing the very sensitive sexual matters that many AP's see as being "too invasive"?

I tend to think people with abusive-parent backgrounds pass with few questions, too.  Of course, I may base that opinion on my own personal experience, but I wonder just how many people asked my Amother how her alcoholic father affected her own behaviors.... especially during times of stress.  [Those were ALWAYS the times she would shut-down and require pills to help her through those "rough periods".]  Under pressure, that woman could answer questions like a pro... in reality.... that woman fell to pieces when presented a real-life stressful situation.  This was a fact I had to live with.  This is a fact that became my Afamily secret.

As long as a person is NOT a convicted criminal, all seems fine and dandy.... as long as a person answers within certain limits, all is fine and good.  Really?  REALLY?

Had ANYONE looked into my Amother's personality... <hard strong sob>... well, let's just say things could have been VERY different for me, as an adoptee.  Had anyone looked into the pattern of both family histories.... I would like to believe someone would have STOPPED that adoption.  But hey, that's my own angry personal opinion.  That opinion is based on the true life experience of one who was adopted by those who passed a private pre-screening process.

True/False... I think many Ap's pass because money can be made through the private adoption industry.  Such a reality makes me sick.

 

 

Just from my perspective...

There could have been a better outcome for me, and for my children... 

Going back to how PAP's were raised could have a profound impact on the child abuse that is happening in many adoptive homes across America.  Just asking questions about the here and now will not shed any light on what "might" happen in the future.  I've found that digging deep into my past brings to light how I react in the now; which effects in the future.

If I would have known of my husband's past abuse as a very young child, it indeed would have made me think twice before marrying him.  Adoption agencies fall short when they only check the PAP's actions in the now; leaving their past, which holds a lot of secrets to impact the future of every child they place.

I've found that Pedophiles could win an Oscar for their portrayals as a good-parent... for their ability to use a child, for a time, and convince that child to not tell... and to blind-side their spouse into believing they are incapable of anything so evil as child-abuse; all the while they are leading a double life.  So they are also very capable of fooling the agencies who are just skimming the surface trying to find PAP's who will take already abused children with very special needs.  It almost seems like the stronger the needs of the child, the less requirements are placed on the PAP's...

I am to blame for marrying a man who was severely abused as a child and given away when he was 8 years old.  MY FAULT! in not knowing him before I married him.  But could I ever have really known him?  He was a con artist because he lived that life to survive all those years of abuse and then to just survive. 

My friend's daughter is getting a divorce from a man she was married to and had four children with, for 13 years; she now finds out he is gay and has been.   They had normal sexual relations all these years.  My husband and I had sex for 14 years and when he hit 40 and ED set in, he stopped having sex with me and turned to my little girl... (hind knowledge).  So who can say when it will hit a man to become gay or turn to a child for sex?  No one can say; and yet, there are RED FLAGS that should become public knowledge so that these things don't happen EVER!

Being on this forum has made me well aware of the abuse that is happening in some adoptive homes/has happened.  And I am here to say that what happens in biological homes has a direct effect on what happens in adoptive homes; and can happen in the future biological homes of adopted children who marry and have children.  So WHY would anyone come to this forum and complain one way or another about ANYTHING that is discussed here?  It's a FACT that there is child abuse in biological AND adoptive homes.  What is the main thing in this forum is: STOPPING CHILD ABUSE!

Kerry said, "As long as a person is NOT a convicted criminal, all seems fine and dandy.... as long as a person answers within certain limits, all is fine and good.  Really?  REALLY?" 
And I agree 100% with this statement because that's what I've seen in the adoption business in the past 21 years.  Yes, there are FINE adoptive parents/families who do make it; but just within the four counties surrounding my county, I've seen some horrendous things happen in the foster care/adoption of many children.  Maybe because I live in such a rural area where the families have been personally aquainted with many other families?  I don't know, but what is stated as abuse on this forum has been rampant in this section of the country.  Are we just different?

Kerry said, "Pedophiles pass with flying colors... so how much truth is being spoken when discussing the very sensitive sexual matters that many AP's see as being "too invasive"?"
My husband spoke NO truth and passed with flying colors.  He was a very highly respected man in this community and it has taken three years for most of the people in this community to understand how he fooled EVERYONE, including me.  There are still some who will never believe I didn't know what was going on...  but that's to be expected.

It's breaks my heart to hear Kerry say, "things could have been VERY different for me, as an adoptee."  and " .  Had anyone looked into the pattern of both family histories.... I would like to believe someone would have STOPPED that adoption. "
It brings sobs to my throat when I read this; and I, too, believe things could have been different for you, Kerry.  And YOU are the reason why my daughter is home.  YOU had a big part in helping me to understand what happened and how a mother CAN reach out and help the abused daughter by accepting her and giving her the love she so longs for and deserves.  Things are really good for us right now.  My daughter has so much to offer this family.  I have FOUGHT for my daughter's return; and I don't regret any of the pain it caused me in my efforts to be the mother she needs me to be.  NOT perfect... but I am her mom and she loves me.  We watch the old family videos and realize there WAS happiness among the hidden pain of abuse.  And for THAT happiness, we strive for more.

Kerry asked:  "Personally, I wonder just how many AP's are truthful when going through the Q&A process."
Kerry, I LIED like a rug, only not as smooth!  I wanted to present myself in the best light possible; therefore I did lie.  And what I lied about were things I had lied to myself about for years:  that I had a happy childhood and my parents loved me.  ALL children make themselves believe their parents love them.  ALL children believe their homelife is right because that's all they know... until they are old enough to realize the difference in their cold home (if that's what they have) and the warmth they see and feel in other homes.  But then we try to hide it because others CAN'T know what the truth is.  So I pretended my parents loved me; and when I wrote all that lovely stuff on the PAP's forms... well, I almost believed it myself.  It seemed so right.  And it was SO wrong!  and when I kept adopting and kept adopting, I was only trying to "make" the happy home I had never known as a child.  and I think it might have had a much better chance if I had married a man who had been loved as a child, and who loved me.  Neither of these things were true.  And we have all suffered.  The one thing I have going for me now is the fact that I love my children and have learned here, that is what you all needed the most:  the adoptive parents to believe you and love you and ACCEPT YOU just the way you are.  and that's what I'm trying to offer my children, now.  I'm only learning as we go along, yet I know I'm on the right path.

I want to thank ALL of you here for all the help you have given me along this journey... It's a long journey...  Thank you for giving me a place to put into words all the things that have happened.  I'm not done yet.

Teddy has a smile...

What did I ever do to deserve this... Teddy

Pound Pup Legacy